Report Presented in Turkey About the Violations to Women’s Rights

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Source: Kurdistan Latin America / The Dawn News / September 21, 2017

The co-president of the Democratic Party of the People (HDP) and the deputee for Istambul, Filz Kerestecioğlu, presented on Monday a report labeled “Violations on Women’s rights at Turkey”, during the reunion of the Equality and Non Discrimination of the Parlamentarian Assembly of the European Council (APCE).

The highest points of the report are the following:

The impact of the State of Emergency on women.

Despite the numerous commitments, like the “Istanbul convention on the prevention and fight against violence against women and home violence” -formulated by Turkey in the last decades to promote and protect the women’s rights-, inequality and discrimination against women has deepened even more, especially on the last years. Nowadays, the rights and the achievements made in the ambit of women’s rights are threatened in Turkey. Especially, after the attempted putsch, the State of Emergency declared by the government and the policies that feed violence; all this has negatively influenced the live of women. The present report offers a general overview of the main concerns regarding women rights in Turkey.

The member states of the European Council must intensify their efforts to fight discrimination against women, and also, the member states must condemn and fight the retrograd measures that attack the principles of equality and non discrimination.

Although human rights violations appear on the European Council’s agenda, the problems that face the women in the country and the attacks on the women’s rights in the last years have not had enough attention from the Council.

The chaotic environment in Turkey, the hate policies, the curfew imposed by the government, the State of Emergency declared after the attempted putsch and the law-decrees have had a negative impact in women’s lives. Sexist and conservatives policies and speeches have concentrated on this period.

According to the number gathered by the Women’s Coalition, women constituted at least the 19.6% of the 100.797 public employees fired by the law-decrees dictated in the frame of the State of Emergency.

The economic freedoms of women, who have fighted for years to win their economic independence, have been cutted. For which, they are forced to live depending on their families, spouses or parents. Also, they are having difficulties to find new work, because they are being discredited. The fired women have lost their social security. They are forced tho live under the social security of their families or relatives, but without registration. They can support the burden of not being able to economically satisfy the needs of them and their children.
Eleven women associations and one children’s rights association have been closed during the term of the State of Emergency.

The government began replacing the deputies elected by the DBP (Party of the Democratic Regions, a component of the HDP and organized in places where the Kurdish citizens live) with political mayors named as “custodians”, in September 2016, in the South East areas (in 3 municipes of the AKP, 1 of the MHP and 81 of the DBP). Also, 35 women with political charges were arrested. The achievements obtained by the participation of the women in local administrations were destructed for the actions of the officials designed by the government.

A total of 864 women were fired from their job as judges and attorneys. With the dismissals, the existence of women inside the judicial power weakened.

At least 30 female journalists were detained and 16 female journalists are in prison at this moment. The first and only feminine news agency of Turkey, Jin News Agency (JINHA), is among the agencies closed by the law-decrees. The agency SUJIN, established in the place of JINHA, was also closed by yet another law-decree emitted in August. The television programs like ‘Breath and Roses’ and ‘Purple Bullet’, that treated women’s rights related themes, were shutted down product of the closure of channels ike Hayat TV and IMC TV, which are critic television stations of the opposition.

The women that were detained and imprisoned, stated that they have suffered mistreatments and torture. This happened to all the detained women, not only to those charged with attempted putsch, who were submitted to an incompatible treatment to human dignity, under the excuse of the State of Emergency.

After the attempted putsch, the religious leader and the government supporters used the sexist rhetoric. On one hand, the images of the women that opposed to attempted putsch were spreaded; on the other hand, some religious communities declared that women should sit in their houses and pray, and that men would support the government against the conspirators. Expressions like “the spouses of the conspirators are a prize to us” were used for the spouses of the detainees, accused of participating in the attempted putsch.

Right violations towards women during the curfews.

During the conflicts that started on July 2015 in the provinces where the Kurdish civilians live, and after the curfews imposed by the government, hundreds of citizens lost their lives, ended up injured, were subject of tortures and mistreatments. While the curfews lasted, the access of the citizens to food, nutrition, health and education have been hampered and people have died.
The biggest human right violations are directed towards women and children. During this period, the corpses of the murdered women were exhibited in the streets for weeks by law enforcement organizations; families could not be part in the funeral ceremonies; sexist messages were seen on the streets and on house walls. The citizens that were returning to their houses after the curfews, declared that the security forces entered to their dormitories leaving female underwear and used condoms on purpose. These practices reveal once again the new patriarchal face of war.

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